Modern Languages - Winging it in Spanish

5th October 2012 at 01:00

What it's all about

When we made Martin Pescador, a short eco-film entirely in Spanish, the sun was shining, the poppies were in full bloom. School was out; we had closed our books. Our nine-year-olds were being Spanish children on a field studies trip in search of the elusive kingfisher. But the freelance director did not like my opening scene: it was too scripted. He wanted the camera to come across the children playing "naturally", writes Heather Martin.

It was the actors themselves who improvised the solution, launching energetically into Roca, Papel, Tijeras (Scissors, Paper, Stone), followed by Correquetepillo (Catch). It was a moment of epiphany. Not only were all those things learned in the classroom useful, but they had been thoroughly assimilated.

As the day rolled on, more improvisation was required. Charles had to leave two-thirds of the way through, forcing us to recast him as a drop- out. When the bird-spotters are interrupted by a posse of lager-fuelled louts, causing them to scatter like startled sparrows, he duly does a runner. Emerging timidly from hiding, the others assume civic responsibility for clearing up the mountain of litter left by the villains.

The six-minute film was for a competition run by the Spanish Embassy, and chimed harmoniously with the school's week of dedicated environmental activities. It was the ideal opportunity to put the theory of integrated learning into practice.

Last month it won the 2012 Spanish Embassy Film Competition, open to all Spanish-teaching institutions in the UK.

q What else?

Practise Spanish vocabulary with vandersar's interactive cops and robbers board game. bit.lycopsgame. Help pupils to write reviews of their favourite films in Spanish with QCDA_Resources, bit.lyspanishfilmreview.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today